-->

November 01, 2010

What Would Louis XIV Do?

In the news today Prince Sixte-Henri de Bourbon (you may know him as Louis XIV's heir) has moved forward to sue Versailles.  All the trouble has been stirred over the recent shows held at the palace which feature modern artists.  The current show that is causing a stir is that of Takashi Murakami, which opened September 12.  The Prince heads the group Coordination de la Défense de Versailles, and the lawsuit is targeted at the exhibition coordinators. 

"In the suit, the royalists allege that the château of Versailles is the intellectual property of Louis XIV and his descendants and that the display of Murakami's artwork infringes on their rights."

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case!  Have you been to Versailles to see any of the modern shows hosted there?  The previous show featured work by Jeff Koons.

17 comments

  1. Versailles is not a place to have modern shows. Why don't they have this stuff at the ugly Centre Pompidou. If I was in France when they had a modern show I would not go to Versailles.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Madame Constant1 November 2010 10:02

    I (sadly) have never been to Versailles, but can see that modern art might be rather disconcerting in this setting. On the other hand, I think Antoinette would have loved the piece in the photo! Perhaps the modern works keep Versailles fresh ane alive? Katherine Louise

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are a couple of interesting essays on the Versailles website on this topic. I think if it was my only visit to Versailles I would feel a little sad to have this exhibit there. Not to plug my blog, but I did a post on this topic with pictures taken by my BIL, who went to see the exhibit if you're interested:

    http://motherofstyle.blogspot.com/2010/10/murakami-at-versailles.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been to Versailles before and it's incredibly beautiful. I would not want to see anything else that distracted from the originality of the spectacular palace. At that time, the only thing out of place were the people visiting who's dress and decorum although pleasant, was not from days long ago.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Chateau de Versailles is a musuem, and as such it is able to show art exhibits. Though I understand the choice of exhibit being at Versailles is a bit odd, I think if the monarchy existed today (or if Marie Antoinette did), they would welcome Murakami's exhibit (Murakami is a world renowned artist in his own right, so there should be no arguments of worthiness of the exhibit at least). Marie Antoinette and many others liked to think of themselves as patron of the arts (Marie famously sponsored her former music teacher Gluck), and they certainly would have liked to be involved with something like this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree totally with Emma. Though it is true that a modern art setting might seem rather odd and out of place in Versailles (and I myself would rather see the magnificent halls of that place without modern art), it's true that it's a museum and therefore it's fit to have different kinds o exibitions. I really don't think there's any reason to sue them!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh my goodness, never mind shows, just being able to see Versailles would be wonderous!

    I can understand the interest in contrasting the modern with the old world, but after a little while I think it could become a bit grating. That nagging at the back of the mind that starts out in the subconsious when something feels out of place (like a pebble in the shoe), could gradually become a scream by the end of the tour depending on how much of the palace it was in. If it took up a few apartments, perhaps not so bad, but much of the palace would be unbearable for me.

    There is probably a need to find ways to keep the Parisians themsleves coming back as much as they can, but then again, I would think that Paris would have a place more suitable to better show off these works.

    Personally the photos I've seen of the collection at Versailles do a disservice both the the works & Versaillies. From what little I have seen in photos Versaillies has never struck me as a visually quiet place, it's very good at keeping the eye occupied all by itself. With the addition of the modern pieces I find a tug of war match happening with my eyes where they bounce between the pieces & the details of the palace, which aggrivates me after a few pictures & I look away, not having seen as much as I would have liked to of both. It is frustratingly distracting. Sorry for droning on.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, I was in Versailles a couple weeks ago as I told you on twitter and saw the exhibit by Takashi Murakami. It was my very first visit to the Château and I must say, I found this whole show grotesque. It's completely absurd to have those horrible pieces of what they call "art" obstructing our view of what I considered the most beautiful place I've ever been to. I believe that the major public of Versailles doesn't go there for this "art", so, wouldn't it be more appropriate if they simply showed this exhibit in some gallery? Some place that is not a piece of the finest art itself?

    Sorry, modern art supporters, but that's how I see it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I find this a really interesting discussion, and I see both sides. As has been pointed out, Versailles is a museum and is used as such.

    When the Koons exhibit was there I thought, "What a perfect environment for his work!" Baroque meets contemporary baroque -they're both over the top for their own time. Murakami is similar in that respect. However, I can see myself visiting Versailles and being disappointed by the contemporary art taking away from that time transport feeling we love. At the same time it brings more visitors to Versailles, such as local visitors who feel like they don't need to make multiple visits. Perhaps a separate gallery would be nice?

    At the same time I think of Chatsworth which is both a historical home and museum. The current owners are art collectors so there is a wide range of art and I don't remember the contemporary particularly taking away from the historical feel of the house!

    ReplyDelete
  10. While I love Murakami's work, it does not belong at all in Versailles. The contrast between the ultra-traditional look of the beautiful palace and the vivid, odd colors of Murakami's pieces is just too jarring, and I think it's a little bit poor in taste.

    However, I think it's bad form to sue Versailles because of this. Because Versailles is a national museum (at least I believe so), they may show whatever exhibitions they please. It's just not what I would have chosen to display (I would have displayed all of Mme. Vigee-Lebrun's paintings to be honest).

    ReplyDelete
  11. Madame Constant2 November 2010 13:34

    2 November -- How are you celebrating the Queen's birthday? I am wearing a lovely Rose Bertin-inspired flower (from Rococo Fleurs) on my jacket. Katherine Louise

    ReplyDelete
  12. The comments here have been great! I have enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts on the issue at hand!

    Now I am off to have some champagne with Heather, 255 years you know....(Marie Antoinette's Birthday!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was at Versailles two years ago when the last modern art display was forced upon the palace. What an abomination! Who wants to see a big nasty looking red lobster hanging upside down in the royal bedroom?!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think it's great. I'm not a big fan of modern art as a whole, but Murakami Takashi is terrific. His connections between high art and Japanese comics is genius. Also Versailles is an important site for Japanese comics because of the Rose of Versailles by Ikeda Riyoko, so it kind of makes sense to me that he would have an exhibit there. Culture in all its forms, even a palace, doesn't belong to any one person.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree, I don't like modern and classic styles together. It is rather jarring and unsettling. I find it interesting that Louis XIV's descendant is suing Versailles. Louis constructed (I assume) the palace out of tax payer money, so he shouldn't interfere. It will be interesting, though, to see how this plays out in court!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I totally agree with the other posts. I was just there a few weeks ago and it is hideous! I was really upset because I was trying to photograph these beautiful rooms and a gigantic pokemon looking plastic thing is right in the middle the rooms. Even the hall of mirros was filled with them. There are modern art museums in Paris so there was no reason put them all over Versailles. I was very happy to see that both Trianon and Petite Trianon were spared. They did have a really neat water and music show in the gardens with pieces from Handel's water music playing while the beautiful fountains were on and it was breathtaking. Now I think Louis XIV would have LOVED that.

    ReplyDelete